Q: Why can't we give Zakat to help non-Muslims?

A: The majority of scholars agree that Zakat is to be paid and received by Muslims only. Zakat is subject to many rules when it comes to its discharge and distribution. For example, according to the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, a child who is wealthy is not required to pay Zakat. Similarly, a person cannot give Zakat to his parents or children etc. Another example is that one cannot use Zakat money to cook some meals to feed the poor people.

However, these rules are not restricted to other acts of charity such as Sadaqah which can be given to anyone and can also take many forms. For example, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “If a Muslim plants a tree, or sows a field and men and beasts and birds eat from it, all of it is charity from him.” [narrated in Muslim]

Hence we encourage Muslims to also spend as much Sadaqah as possible to help both Muslims and non-Muslims (whether poor or not) in what ever form possible.
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